Injuries: Lead Poisoning
Facts and Claim of Liability:
In March of 2000, infant plaintiff’s family moved into the subject premises in Bayside, New York. Plaintiff mother recalls that the subject premises was in an old building that was in “very poor shape.” When they first moved in, the apartment had not been freshly painted; moreover, there were holes and cracks in the walls, ceilings, and baseboards, as well as leaks in the bathroom near the toilet and sink. Plaintiff mother also recalls that her husband made a number of complaints, but nothing was ever done about the problems in the apartment.
On August 23, 2001, first infant plaintiff was born at North Shore University Hospital. From birth, first infant plaintiff received all primary pediatric care from defendant hospital staff at Long Island Jewish Medical Center.
On January 27, 2002, second infant plaintiff, first infant plaintiff’s cousin, was born at New York Hospital Queens in Flushing, New York. From birth, she too received all primary pediatric care from defendant hospital staff at Long Island Jewish Medical Center. At no point, however, was either plaintiff mother given anticipatory guidance regarding the dangers of lead-positive surfaces. Nor were infant plaintiffs tested for lead poisoning in a timely manner – first infant plaintiff was not tested before she was 22 months old, and second infant plaintiff was not tested before she was 18 months old.
On June 21, 2003, first infant plaintiff was diagnosed with an elevated blood-lead level (“PbB”) of 29 ug/dL. Because of this result, defendant hospital staff called second plaintiff mother and asked that she bring second infant plaintiff in to be tested as well.
On June 30, 2003, the New York State Department of Health (DOH) visited the subject premises. X-ray fluorescence sampling ultimately revealed 29 lead-positive surfaces from 66 samples.
In July of 2003, second infant plaintiff was tested for lead poisoning. Ultimately, she was diagnosed with an elevated blood-lead level (“PbB”) of 57.6 ug/dL, and admitted to Schneider Children’s Medical Center for chelation therapy. A little over a week later, she was discharged from the hospital.
Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald filed suit in Queens County Supreme Court, arguing that defendant owner was careless, negligent, and reckless in the ownership, operation, management, maintenance, repair, care, and control of the subject premises in allowing and permitting a dangerous and hazardous condition to be, remain, and exist; and in failing to make a timely repair and abatement of the lead-based paint hazard in the subject premises upon learning that a child under the age of six was living in the subject premises, both of which resulted in serious and permanent injuries to infant plaintiffs. Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald also argued that defendant hospital staff failed to do a Lead Risk Assessment and educate plaintiff mothers regarding pre-1960s buildings, cracking and peeling paint, and lead-based paint hazards, as well as timely test infant plaintiffs for elevated blood-lead levels. Ultimately, Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald settled with defendants for a total of $850,000.00.